You've probably had a conversation with a friend at one time or another about a band that went something like this:
"I liked their old stuff better... before they got discovered."
"Yeah, they used to be great, but now they are all pop... they really sold out."
I always wondered about that term "selling out." It is like we as a culture have decided that coolness is lost when something gets too popular. It is cool to like things before they get popular, but rather than just reveling in saying "I told you they were great!" we insist on saying that once they get popular they aren't as cool any more. It isn't just art. Yes kids, even Microsoft was cool until they got big. Apple and Google are reaching that point now. We seem to always want to root for the underdog. We want to support those who have a clear mission... not about making money, but about changing the world. If they get too big and successful, we question that mission. Art is corrupted by money. Commercial interests dilute art.... or so we believe.
Yesterday I was at the Quickbooks Connect conference (which was surprisingly good). It started off on an incredible note, which is why I decided to tell all of you. The lights went down and the pre-music faded and a face appeared on the large screen. It said "it starts with poetry." The face belonged to a fellow named Sekou Andrews. What followed was an amazing performance by Sekou of a poem about how people follow their passions and find an entrepreneurial spirit and courage and make things happen and create a web of connected, like-minded souls who together make a difference in the world. It was poetry about small business. And it was amazingly great. Who'd a thunk it? He is one of the most engaging and energetic speakers I've ever seen. It was like an incredible slam poetry reading that was beautiful and insightful and thought provoking and... it was about small business. It was an amazing work of art about the beauty of commmerce. The thing is, it was amazingly great and powerful and intense and inspirational. It was as moving as any poetry reading I've heard in years... and it was about... business.... and it was cool. How did he do that? That isn't supposed to work is it? I was there and I have no idea. But, it was amazing enough that I thought I should introduce you to Mr Sekou Andrews with the video below doing his thing that a he calls Poetic Voice. Watch and enjoy.
...and to Sekou Andrews, yes you are awesome (and we are sort of experts on awesome). Thanks for the performance.